George Gascon recall effort has 70% of the signatures needed

Bryan Chan/County of Los Angeles via AP

Last year an effort to get a recall of progressive DA George Gascon on the ballot was a bust, but after that failure organizers said they would try again. It’s starting to look like this second try is going to succeed. Recall organizers say they now have 400,000 signatures, about 70% of what’s needed:

The recall campaign told Fox News Digital on Wednesday that it has collected more than 400,000 signatures and raised $6 million. The campaign needs 566,857 signatures – 10% of registered voters — by the July 6 deadline to put the recall question on November’s ballot.

“We’re starting to see a real light at the end of the tunnel here and there’s a real plausible pathway to get these signatures if we can just keep it up,” campaign spokesman Tim Lineberger said.

Of course the organizers need to have more than the minimum number of signatures in case some are faulty or get challenged. Still with two months to go and money behind the effort, they should be able to get this on the ballot.

Meanwhile, reasons to remove Gascon from office keep piling up. Case in point, this week a 36-year-old woman in LA was charged with slapping and kicking her 4-year-old daughter to death back in 2020:

Akira Smith, 36, is accused of fatally beating her 4-year-old daughter on Aug. 11, 2020. She faces one count each of murder, torture and assault on a child causing death…

In court Tuesday, the Eternity’s oldest brother, now 18, testified that his mother kept “slapping and slapping” Eternity the day of her death, and that he also saw his mother choking his sister and “kicking her while she was on the floor.”…

The girl was rushed to a hospital, where she died.

Officers took the girl’s three siblings into protective custody and released them to the L.A. County Department of Children and Family Services, according to the LAPD.

It’s about as horrifying a crime as you can imagine. The girl’s mother has two previous felony convictions, one for injuring a spouse in 2014 and another for assault with a deadly weapon in 2016. That means if she’s convicted for a third felony, she would go away for life under the three strikes law. Deputy DA Jon Hatami, who is prosecuting the case, told Fox News that DA Gascon tried to have the woman’s previous strikes removed which would ensure Smith a shorter sentence and the possibility of parole.

Deputy District Attorney Jon Hatami, who is prosecuting Smith, told Fox News Digital that Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón tried to have Smith’s two previous strikes removed on Dec. 7, 2020.

“On Dec 15, 2020, at a Preliminary Hearing Setting, I refused to remove the strikes. Three days later, George Gascon called me ‘unfit’ and ‘delusional’ and said I was going to be disciplined. The public now can see all the evidence presented at the preliminary hearing and can [make their] own decision,” Hatami, a frequent critic of Gascón, said Thursday.

DDA Hatami is one of Gascon’s most public critics but he’s far from the only one. Tuesday the Los Angeles Times published a story about the war taking place within the DA’s office.

In normal times, the convicted sex offender’s request for leniency would have been met with a swift, emphatic “no” from the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.

But these aren’t normal times in the D.A.’s office.

So when the felon earlier this year asked a judge to reconsider his 73-year sentence, the prosecutor assigned to the case didn’t object. He couldn’t, he explained in a court filing, because his boss, Dist. Atty. George Gascón, wouldn’t allow it, court records show.

“The District Attorney believes that regardless of the number of charges committed or the number of victims that were harmed that a person should not serve a sentence that is greater than 15 years,” he wrote.

That stance earned the prosecutor’s supervisor a reprimand from one of Gascón’s top aides, who told her the attorney had misrepresented one of the many dramatic changes the district attorney implemented on his first day in office, according to court records. And when the supervisor was demoted to a lowly position in a remote Torrance courthouse, she sued, claiming she had been retaliated against.

Incidents like that have created a culture of us vs. them inside the office. Former Gascon supporter turned critic DDA Richard Ceballos told the Times that Gascon no longer even knows what is happening in the office because prosecutors don’t tell him. “The people he surrounds himself with don’t really know what’s going on with the day-to-day operations of the office, and part of it is because we’re not telling them,” Ceballos said.

Another result of the ongoing battle is a staffing shortage. Since Gascon took office 120 prosecutors have left and apparently the office is still struggling to replace them. That means caseloads are up for those who remain.

At this point, even if you don’t oppose Gascon in theory, there’s a good case for removing him just to restore basic functionality to the DA’s office. Hopefully voters will follow through on the recall. It really shouldn’t be a tough sell at this point.